Soleri, Paolo: ARCOLOGY: THE CITY IN THE IMAGE OF MAN. Phoenix: The Bridgewood Press, 1999.

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ARCOLOGY: THE CITY IN THE IMAGE OF MAN

Paolo Soleri, Peter Blake [foreword]

Paolo Soleri, Peter Blake [foreword]: ARCOLOGY: THE CITY IN THE IMAGE OF MAN. Phoenix: The Bridgewood Press, 1999. Fifth printing [originally published by the MIT Press, 1969]. Oblong folio. Printed paper covered boards.  [136] pp.  Elaborate graphic design throughout.  Interior unmarked and very clean. Lower front corner slightly bumped, otherwise a fine copy of this oversized and fragile volume.

16 x 9.25 hardcover book with 136 pages meticulously reproducing Soleri’s work as architect, urban designer, artist, craftsman and philosopher. Paolo Soleri has been exploring the countless possibilities of human aspiration. The envisioned future taking shape in his mind has been expressed in various media. One outstanding endeavor is Arcosanti, an urban laboratory, constructed in the high Arizona desert. It attempts to demonstrate an alternative human habitat much needed in this increasingly perplexing world. This project also exemplifies his steadfast devotion to creating an experiential space to "prototype" an environment in harmony with man. Through his articulated philosophy "Arcology (Architecture+Ecology)", Soleri formulates a path that may aid us on our evolutionary journey toward a state of aesthetic, equity and compassion. The half century work of his broad-ranging and coherent intellect (so scarce in the age of specialization) has influenced many in the field in search of a new paradigm for our built environment.

“Not really knowing if things get ready for a torrid planet or for a new Ice Age, the poor architects are faced by a habitat singularly off target. In either case the single home will be the wrong package. Tightly woven minimalist packages for entire communities will become mandatory.

“Not to imitate the nano-biotechnology of organisms but put to use its teaching: self containment, miniaturization, complexity, automation under the tutelage of volition and religion. Volition is the (automated) inner drive of the living. Religion is the bonding (derived from religare in Latin) indispensable for the volitional sparks. Am I speaking arcology?!?! If so, this 37-year-old publication still resonates with my current thinking.

“I am advocating a Lean Hypothesis about reality and a Lean Alternative to our materialistic culture. With the lean urban development I put tangibility to my conjecturing. Years ago I declared that Leanness is frugality fraught with sophistication. The gazelle is lean, i.e. frugality wrapped in grace.

“Can anyone imagine a frozen tundra or a scorching Sahara colonized by millions of hermitages, single homes? A nightmarish American Dream incapable of supporting any kind of dignified life, let alone the evolution of a civilization. Is the exurban (ever-expanding suburban) metastasis a bejeweled dream? Of food and shelter, the two indispensable needs of life, shelter is the direct responsibility of planners; architects, urban planners, builders, developers, speculators, politicians, students ... time to wake up!” — Paolo Soleri, Arcosanti, Arizona

Through his work as an architect, urban designer, artist, craftsman, and philosopher, Paolo Soleri (1919-2013) has been exploring the countless possibilities of human aspiration. One outstanding endeavor is Arcosanti, an urban laboratory, constructed in the Arizona high desert. It attempts to test and demonstrate an alternative human habitat which is greatly needed in this increasingly perplexing world. This project also exemplifies his steadfast devotion to creating an experiential space to "prototype" an environment in harmony with man.

In his philosophy "arcology" (architecture + ecology), Soleri formulated a path that may aid us on our evolutionary journey toward a state of aesthetic, equity, and compassion. For more than a half century, his work, marked by a broad-ranging and coherent intellect (so scarce in the age of specialization), has influenced many in search of a new paradigm for our built environment.

If the act of living includes the pioneering of reality through imagination and sweat, Soleri has given us more than enough food for thought in the examples he has left on paper and in the desert wind.

"Soleri bases his entire arcology neither on economic, social, or  industrial considerations but on a philosophical system. It is so  all-embracing in its scope that it relates the arcological city unity  to the entire evolution of organic life, from the proto-biological  primordial ooze to an as yet unevolved Neo-Matter . . . . Insisting that nature and human evolution work as vectors or parallel  progressions, he ties the future fate of mankind to the same  increasing complexification that has marked the rise of our organism  from the amoeba."   -- Sibyl Moholy-Nagy The Architectural Forum, 1970

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